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Final Bow

Final Bow: Andy Kelso and Daniel Stewart Sherman Take Off Their Kinky Boots

Two original cast members from Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein's Tony-winning musical look back at the last five years.

They say the cast of a musical becomes a family as the show takes shape, and Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein's musical Kinky Boots proves it. While the Tony winner will call it quits after 2,507 Broadway performances on April 7, 13 original cast members of Jerry Mitchell's production will end up having been part of both the opening and closing night companies.

Two such performers are Andy Kelso and Daniel Stewart Sherman. When Kinky Boots opened on Broadway in 2013, Kelso played the role of Harry, a shoe salesman, and Sherman appeared as Don, the burly factory worker who learns how to open his mind to new possibilities. Sherman, who received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for his performance, has remained as that character, while Kelso moved up to the leading role of Charlie in 2014, and has been playing the shoe factory owner on and off ever since.

Roommates during the Chicago tryout, the pair recently sat down to look back at their run and say a fond farewell to the "Land of Lola."

Andy Kelso and Daniel Stewart Sherman at the opening night of Kinky Boots on Broadway in 2013.
(© David Gordon)

1) What is your favorite line that you get to say?
Daniel Stewart Sherman: "You change the world when you change your mind."

Andy Kelso: "Let pride be your guide."

2) What is your cast's best inside joke?
Andy: Whenever Charlie is talking with the factory workers in the background, he's a hard ass. I ask them what they're doing, and if it's not good enough, I fire people right on the spot.

Daniel: With my workers, we're on stage right as Charlie is getting the phone call saying his father has passed away. And then we have to go and stand for the vigil as he goes up the stairs. Right before we do that, [a cast member] comes up to me and goes, "Oh, Mr. Price, he's dead," and he always tells me in a different way, like, "He farted himself to death." And then I have to go be sad.

3) What was the worst technical difficulty you experienced during the run, and how was it handled?
Daniel: There was the night when the factory walls didn't open.

Andy: Right after "Soul of a Man," when we do the scene with Lauren, she says, "turn around, Charlie," and nothing happened.

Daniel: We were back there and you couldn't see us. I was getting ready to walk out.

Andy: To solve that, I ended up going through the door so we were all offstage. And then the walls finally opened.

Andy Kelso as Charlie Price in Kinky Boots on Broadway''.
(© Matthew Murphy)

4) What is the most "interesting" present you received at the stage door?
Daniel: We get food all the time. Somebody baked me cookies. They were good. They were from a super fan, so I wasn't worried they were poison.

Andy: The best gift I've gotten was a bottle of scotch. It was Laphroaig.

5) Who is the coolest person to come see the show?
Daniel: Kevin Costner came backstage and he was so cool. He is such a dude. He's a big guy, and he had a leather jacket on, and a scarf, and boots. He looked like a bad ass and he was so sweet. He had a great time.

Andy: My number one, and unfortunately he didn't come backstage, was Sir Paul McCartney. Nobody knew he was there at first, and then I'm passing the doorman and the security guard was just like, "Paul McCartney's here." I spent Act 2 saying, "I get to sing 'Soul of a Man'" for Paul McCartney. I didn't get to meet him, but I saw him during the finale. He was jamming.

6. Cumulatively, how many performances have you each done in Kinky Boots?
Daniel: I'll probably be around 2,100.

Andy: I just passed 1,000 during this stint as Charlie, and I also played Harry for a year until 2014. I think I'll be around 1,500 or 1,600.

Daniel Stewart Sherman (center) as Don, with Wayne Brady as Lola.
(© Matthew Murphy)

7. How do you keep it fresh for so long?
Daniel: It's not a challenge for me to keep it fresh. I run through my lines every day. I literally speed through the scene before I go out onstage. Every time, I try to think of a new way of doing it.

Andy: I agree. With a role like Charlie, I've found that I can't phone it in. I have to be sharp. As soon as I start to feel like I'm starting to phone it in, something happens that makes me feel like I can't. I wouldn't be surprised if on closing night, I find something new.

8. What is the best note you've gotten from Cyndi Lauper or Harvey Fierstein during this process?
Andy: For "Soul of a Man," Cyndi's note is always, "Ya gotta open a vein. It's like you're opening a vein on stage." And the other thing she says is, "Ya gotta feel the rhythm. Feel the rhythm in your butt."

Daniel: The one thing that Harvey told me during rehearsal was, "You don't have to say something to depict something. It doesn't have to be with words. Do it with your face. Do it with your hands."

9. Since you've been doing this for so long, is it hard to have to modulate your individual performances for each different actor who comes in as Lola?
Andy: It's not. In fact, J. Harrison Ghee coming back has been great. He's done it with so many Charlies and I've done it with so many Lolas that our road is so wide. We could go anywhere with the roles. We're both so comfortable with it. It's fun to figure out what's gonna happen each night.

Daniel: That goes back to what you're saying about keeping it fresh. I had never done it with [penultimate Lola] Callum Francis before he came here, and I didn't rehearse with him. When he came on, I was on my toes. You didn't know what he was gonna do in a scene that you've been doing for years.

10. What is the kinkiest pair of boots that you own?
Daniel: We're doing the workshop, and Jerry comes up to me and goes, "I think it would be really great if you come out in kinky boots for the finale. I was like, "Yeah, of course," not knowing that he meant in two days for the presentation. Billy Porter and Stark Sands already had their boots made for them, and this was Jerry's last-minute idea for me. He goes, "Do you have any kinky boots at home?" And I'm like…"No, Jerry! Of course I don't. I have construction boots." And he was so let down. I ended up wearing Jerry's eight-inch heel, two-inch platform knee-high boots that were a poached salmon pink. When we came out at the end, you could see those investors going, "Here's two million dollars."

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